Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate
Highlight: Spectacular setting and traditional dishes – with the vegetable
biryani the star of the show Stepping inside Ibn Battuta Gate’s impressive iftar is like stepping back in time.
From the traditional dates, lentil and harira soup, through to the slow-cooked baby lamb ouzi, couscous and rice, every detail of the sumptuous Arabic spread has been planned to perfection. Add 88 oriental lanterns, life-size (and lifelike) camel statues, colourful silks and tapestries, all in the majestic Moroccan setting of the hotel’s Great Hall, Al Bahou, and there’s no need to flick through history books to get a sense of Ramadan through the ages.
It was a feast for the senses – heightened by the atmospheric lighting – and the aromatic waft of Arabic coffee mingling with the scent of chicken molokhia, mixed grill and shish barak made my two small children eager to start. But first there was the cold mezzeh, and the salad bar to visit.
Along with the usual delicacies were a few surprises – squid for my seafoodloving kids and shrimp, carrot and apple coleslaw. For me, the vegetarian in the family, there was delicious Russian salad, and grilled vegetables with rocket pesto.
Starters dispatched with, we ventured off-piste, visiting the international cooking stations. Along with Indian butter chicken my little ones ate seafood cavatelli pasta and arancini – delicious Sicilian balls of cheese and mashed potato – while I tucked into tasty vegetable biryani.
My husband stuck to the lamb ouzi with vegetables and rice, and declared
Then it was off to the dessert table where we tried the Ramadan sweets –
including awamat and halawat al jibin, each one met with a ‘yummy’ from my
nine-year-old who piled his plate high, and went back for seconds – and thirds.
Full, the rest of us sat back, sipping coffee, and drinking in the atmosphere.
My children soon wanted to explore and as the kids’ club was open, I dropped
them off to watch cartoons, and play games with the club’s childminder.
It was bad news as, without children to look after, I was free to reinvestigate
the desserts. The fruit salad was too tempting, but at least I could kid myself
I was being healthy by ignoring the Turkish delight. We left, full, and eager
to return before the end of Ramadan.
With such a spectacular setting and traditional fare, the buffet is more than
an iftar – it’s a lesson in history as well as culinary excellence.
Al Bahou Iftar is held nightly from 6.30pm-8.30pm, Dh150 per person, or
Dh75 for children aged seven to 16. To book call 04 4445613
Ramadan Majlis, Dubai World Trade Centre
Highlight: Desserts with date syrup With all the beautiful hotels in Dubai
we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to going out to end your fast. But if you
want something different, head to the World Trade Centre.
There you’ll find not only fabulous food and a warm welcome, but ways to keep the family entertained – from Modesh World to the Dubai Sports World for the energetic.
I sampled the suhour menu – and if the delicacies on offer are anything to
judge by, then the iftar in the adjacent Al Multaqua Ballroom is a must.
The majlis is the perfect place to sit back and relax, with seating grouped in a way that encourages easy conversation. The menu is à la carte, perfect for those who sometimes find the choice at a buffet overwhelming.
To start with I opted for a selection of salads, which were deliciously fresh,
tabouleh, hummus and a dish of crisp peppers, cherry tomatoes and cheese.
Next came shish tawook. The bread was crisp and smoky, which added a great depth of flavour.
Guests can also select from the live cooking stations – you really are spoilt for choice. When it came to desserts, there was a sweet trolley circulating, but I ordered from the menu. The chobab (small pancakes) were served with a date syrup that was so moreish I was in danger of eating the whole dish.
Khameer had a fabulous fennel taste in the background – subtle and delicious.
There was a breather for fragrant Arabic coffee served with the sweetest,
freshest dates I’ve ever eaten.
After coffee I was persuaded to sample yet another classic dessert; the cheese
kunafa was something I just couldn’t resist. And then I really had to call a halt. Iftar is held from sunset to 9pm, Dh135.
The Ramadan Majlis is open from 8pm to 3am. There’s no minimum spend in the majlis, so if you just want to sip Moroccan tea, smoke shisha and enjoy the wonderful hospitality, you can be their guest! To book call: 04 3086979
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